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MOGADISHU (Reuters) - At least three people were killed and 11 others injured when an explosion ripped a small restaurant popular with soldiers in the Somali capital on Saturday evening, police and local officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Al Shabaab militants have launched similar attacks in the past in a campaign to topple the Western-backed government.

"A bomb that was planted in the tea shop exploded," Abdifatah Omar, the spokesman for Mogadishu's mayor, told Reuters.

Police said the dead and injured included soldiers.

"The death toll may rise for some of the injuries are serious. We believe the al Shabaab planted the bomb," said Ahmed Nur, a police officer.

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Abdirahman Hussein; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Reuters